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Engineering a cool garden gate
April 21, 2014 4:06 AM   Subscribe

I'd like to make a new garden gate. I'm aware the term garden gate has many possible interpretations, so to clarify: by this I mean a gate from the border of my yard to the communal snicket that runs along the back of all the terraced houses in my street. What I'd like to do is go for a bit of a medieval look. This means big dome headed black nails on the exterior side of the door, a grille in the middle for checking who is about before opening the door and, this is where I need help: a safe style thrown bolt on the inside. It's this last bit I'm having trouble with. I don't know how to Google for inspiration because I don't know the correct term. I'm thinking of a handle that when moved either up or down or left to right operates perhaps two or three other bolts which all slide into place by the action of that one initial movement. Any ideas? Just a bit of fun. I think my son would enjoy it.
posted by dance to Home & Garden (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I think the type of fastener you're looking for is a Carriage Bolt. Perhaps look for an artisanal blacksmith to work with for a custom latch.
posted by sammyo at 6:19 AM on April 21

Sorry, not close to what I was asking. My fault. I'll get on a computer later and try to draw what I mean. Thanks for answering though!
posted by dance at 6:43 AM on April 21

Something like this?
posted by killy willy at 6:58 AM on April 21

This may not be what you want exactly, but Matthias Wandel has a design for a geared wooden sliding latch. If you were extra ambitious, you could probably add gears to the design to have multiple bolts all driven by a single crank.
posted by Poldo at 7:23 AM on April 21

I think OP is trying to describe a riveted medieval gate, kind of like this? In which case, if you're building this yourself on the cheap, then carriage bolts would probably be a decent solution to make it look riveted.
posted by Think_Long at 7:23 AM on April 21

OP is asking about the locking mechanism, not the stud nails.

Search for variants of "vault door locking mechanism" and you'll get things like this (here's the full article).
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 8:58 AM on April 21

OK! So I've got a small collection of pictures together which illustrate the concept for the style of lock/latch I'm aiming to create. All I'm looking for is inspiration, really. :-)

Basically I'd like to be able to throw a bolt from the inside which causes at least two bolts to engage into keeps into the frame.
posted by dance at 8:59 AM on April 21

I think when the OP says 'thrown bolt' they mean the latch or lock mechanism that holds the gate closed. They want one handle to operate several latches, similar to the multipoint lock on a modern UPVC door, except looking more like the medieval equivalent.

I imagine something like this submarine bulkhead door or this front door or this nasa airlock door.

I'm no expert on medieval manufacturing techniques, but as I understand it there was lots of cast iron and hammering, not much precise machining. So stuff like gears and bicycle chains and belts are out. You could get two or three traditional gate latches, put them at different heights, and put a vertical bar linking the latch bars so you can lift all three at once.

The mechanism on that airlock door is also really simple if you look at it - the six silver bars all attach to a white plate that turns with the wheel, so the bars all retract as the wheel turns. You could make that sort of mechanism with medieval technology. Of course, for a garden gate you probably don't need six bars, or a bar straight down into the ground where the hole it goes into can get clogged with dirt.

Edit: I see the OP clarified just as I posted!
posted by Mike1024 at 9:00 AM on April 21 [1 favorite]

Do you want the entire mechanism to be exposed and visually appealing? If the latches are hidden something like these two point truck latches could be mounted sideways and engage two sides. Or you can use cables instead of rods to actuate the latches and mount them on the same side. This would also allow you to have as many latches as you want because you can run multiple cables from each side of the handle.
posted by Mitheral at 5:43 PM on April 21

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